Ken Penrod's Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report

Fishing Report for Week Ending March 22, 2020

LOU Fishing Report for Week Ending 32220.

Office & Mailing Address @ 4708 Sellman Road, Beltsville, MD 20705
Cell @ 240-447-2206 (Best Way), Office Device @ 30-937-0010.
“See our Facebook Pages for Fishing Reports, Photos and “Club” Activity.”
First-Hand Reporting Since 1982—NOT part-time guess work.
Professional Guides Since 1982
We Wrote “The Books” on Regional Fishing.
Licensed, Drug Tested, Commercially Insured, Time Tested.

Expert Fishing Instructors for:
Tidal Potomac River <> Upper Potomac River <> Susquehanna River
Juniata River <> Upper Bay <> Eastern Shore Tidal Rivers

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Notes: Our fishing reports and client photos will be posted to Ken’s Facebook Page, “Life Outdoors Unlimited” and our website,

“Ken Penrod’s Life Outdoors Unlimited” (

Ken Penrod’s 20-Inch Smallmouth Club members at:
Sponsored by Ardent & Riverfront Campground.

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Sponsored by Lowrance & Ardent.

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Bass Fishing with Life Outdoors Unlimited—the safest place to be in the region. School closures—take them fishing, Camgrounds & Fishing are approved activities in PA.
We will operate as usual using remote launch sites and away from crowds. We are “safer” than you being at home. This is a great opportunity for you to join us.
LOU Fish of the Week, 31520
Michael Day, 20” Smallmouth, Juniata River
Ken Penrod 20-Inch Smallmouth Club
(Sponsored by Ardent Outdoors & Riverfront Campground)
Michael Day
LOU FISH of the Week 32220
Maria (Ladies Division) Smallmouth, 19’ from Juniata River
Kevin Burns, Smallmouth, Susquehanna
Ken Penrod 20-Inch Smallmouth Club
( Sponsored by Ardent Outdoors & Riverfront Campground)
• Maria
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: **; dirty; 50s; 3.6 @ Point of Rocks rising to 4.7 by Wednesday.
The river will jump about a foot and I remind you that river smallmouth bass prefer a full moon and 50-degrees of water temperature to spawn. We are in that window now so watch the level and go fish. The current levels are safe for experienced boaters but wading is not an option.
You will want to use medium action spinning rod such as the Ardent brand with 6-8 pound test, green monofilament and I HIGHLY recommend Excel by Bass Pro.
There is NO better lure than the Campground Special tubes by Riverfront Campground and I like the “teaser” size in any of the KP Series colors. Random casting is just a waster so choose current breaks, eddies, and ledges that create unseen calm-spots.
I’m a big fan of the waters between Seneca and Brunswick but there are great sectors upriver too.

SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS, PA: **1/2; 47-50 degrees; nice color most places; rising; 6.2 at the Harrisburg gage rising to 6.6 and fairly steady through Wednesday. The Juniata was pumping hard the past two day. It’s 7.4, down from 8.2 yesterday, and falling a bit till Tuesday when it rises again to 7.7 by Wednesday (according to NWS). Juniata water column clogged with dead grass and hopefully the “flush” will fix that.
OUR operation from Riverfront Campground is not affected by any closure for disease and is easily one of the safest adventures in the USA. Remember, you drive here in your car, enter a campground almost abandoned and fish on our boats—on a river where the closest you will ever come to another person ts 100 yards. Zip that damn man-suit up folks and start acting like men. Im so ashamed of some of the people in my home region, especially the “hoarders.” Here in Duncannon, PA, the good-folks are doing the good deeds. The grocery store is limiting bread, water and toilet paper (what the hell is that all about). We, my guides and I and certain Others: cook” at the campground. Brisket, chicken wings, bean soup, kielbasa & sauerkraut etc. Sorrentos Carry Out has everything and the Matzaball grocery store is five-star.
ANYWAY—this was a crazy week weather-wise with big rains some nights, fluxing levels and water temps and highs of 75 with lows of 32. From full-blown Simms gortex to shirt sleeves. The bass have been as confused as the anglers—but this is easily the best March in my 27 years on the Susqy—weather-wise.
Numbers are down from the “Glory-Days” but ITS STILL THE BEST SMALLMOUTH RIVER IN THE REGION—by far, “The days of the Arway Closure” were better—but we never agreed with that decision anyway. By the way, if you wonder about my resume to say-so, consider that is was my company, under Butch Ward tutelage that popularized cold water smallmouth—and jet boat use. I was raised in Portage and attended PITT. I have property is Cameron County and spend 26 weeks a year in this state. I have 11 Conservation awards.
So, the reason for that long atta-boy is because there is a “movement” or an effort from what-should-be the Chesapeake Bay’s oversee on water quality—but now they want to be fisheries biologist. They and a selected guide service are advertising major smallmouth bass disease and conducting a poll of angles—which we totally do not endorse for various reasons. Hey-they never backed Arways pleas for pollution control. Look to Harrisburg violations because they admit it.
My bottom line from the above explanation is that on “Day 11 of my guide service that includes 30 angler days and about 450 smallmouth bass caught and released—there were “0” sick fish. ZERO.” I’d be the first one to jump on an aquatic issue. For the record, while the same rumors were circulating last year, my service boated thousands of smallmouth bass and: maybe” 2% had lesions (or heron wounds).
The 4” Case Magic Swim on an RAB swim jig was our big bass producer while the Campground tubes account for numbers.
KP3 Reports: I’ve had some good days and some really tough days. The water temperature seems to be a major factor. The Juniata has a lot of some sort of junk grass in the water column so jerkbaits and tubes get fouled up. There are days when jerkbaits below ledges produce and some days the fish are absent. There are days when bank current seams are good and then I can’t catch them. I started to see some fish on island eddies but they too are hit and miss. On Friday I fished everything with everything but the boat could only muster 8 fish. I’ve seen a lot of big, fat healthy fish but many look like they are from the same year class. I saw that in the fall also. The fishing has been tough for me but I continue to search. Maybe I’m searching too much and need to settle down.

I want to thank Rockproof Boats for their excellent customer service. I had an issue and they solved it in a few hours to keep me fishing. It’s not just selling a boat that keeps people in business – it’s how u treat them after they bought. Thanks to Rockproof and also to Johnny Cunningham of Riverfront Campground. I can’t thank him enough for what he does. It’s important to support businesses like Riverfront. Johnny sells all the Campground Special Tubes and jigheads from his trailer located on the grounds. All you need is a pack of Teaser tubes in Penrod special or blue craw with a pack of 1/8 RAB jigheads and you you have eliminated one factor to be concerned with – the bait. Now you just got to throw it in front of a fish.

Captain Dave Kerrigan (301-252-5322) pretty much mirrors the above as he has worked the river from Sherman to Halifax. Dave really like the Campground tubes but his backup is the Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver (Dirty Sanchez).

Big thank you to River Rocket and AlumaRyder for making service calls to repair KP3 and Capt Kerrigan’s boats. Johnny Cunningham coordinated this effort and we cant thank him enough either. Yep—friends in all places.

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: ***; some color; mid-50s
Captain Kenny Penrod III (240-478-9055) reports the following – The River is exploding with life. The white perch and yellow perch are running in the creeks and main stem. There are reports of American and hickory Shad being caught at Fletchers. I even caught two snakeheads on swim jigs this week. The pads are starting to emerge and even a few strands of hydrilla. Hopefully if we can avoid major floods and water clarity stays good – we will see more grass in the river. The grass isn’t just about bass fishing but the entire food chain benefits from its presence. I hope the milfoil returns to Piscataway but haven’t had a chance to check. It’s still March and water temperature is the most significant factor for me. A sunny day and a temperature increase to 54 or 55 will trigger a move of big, hungry bass into the shallows. This move may only last a short time so you want to be on large flats with pad stems. The bigger bass seem to be located on the outside stems closer to deeper water. The tide is not much consequence right now. I look for the presence and activity of baitfish – this is better than a temperature gauge. I’m sure that hard banks with trees like Pohick and Piscataway will produce. As will the Spoils and Belle Haven. The back of Swann Creek should be good. I haven’t had to move much but with my new Ranger Z52O I’ll be exploring. I’ve been catching big bass on a 3/8 ounce Big Shakey with a black blade. I add a white/chartreuse swimbait as a trailer. I’ve also started to swim a zoom Ultravibe worm or when the water is dead calm – a swim jig. Also a wacky rigged Case Magic Stik (green pumpkin purple) will soon be a killer. I caught some really nice bass this past week and a snakehead that was 12 lbs but the fish have a definite dinner time so Leave your best spot at your own risk.

FYI – I’m selling my 2009 Ranger Z520 with Mercury 250 Optomax Pro XS. The boat is equipped with dual power poles. Lowrance HDS 9 at bow and console. Jackplate, new batteries, Motorguide Fortrex 101. The boat just completed full checkup at Mares and has complete diagnostics for review. The trailer was just equipped with new axle, all new hubs, spindles, calipers and brakes. It was also fully inspected by Mare. $25,500.
LOU Guides for 2018
Captain Ken Penrod: (National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame) Cell: 240-447-2206;; Facebook; LinkedIn; Instagram, Twitter @ken_penrod.
Tidal Potomac; Upper Potomac; Susquehanna River; Juniata River; Maryland Eastern Shore Tidal Rivers; George Stevenson Reservoir.
Captain Kenny Penrod 111, VP of Tidal Bass Operations @ 240-478-9055
Captain Dave Kerrigan, VP of Smallmouth Operations @ 301-252-5322;
Captain Brian Barnes @ 302-745-4668,

Meet My/Our Partners.
The following are our sponsors and partners. Some are all encompassing within my group—and some are personal to the guide. All are valued.

RiverPro; Mercury; Lowrance Electronics; Ardent Outdoors; Big Mouth Lure Company; Yeti; Patagonia; Case Plastics; Kuiu; Simms Fishing; Costa; Power Pole; NRA; Zipper Worms; RAB Jig Heads; Campground Tubes; Riverfront Campground; Big Bee/River Rocket (KP3); AlumaRyder; (Dave Kerrigan); Columbia Design & Graphics; Guidefitters; NRA; Maggie Penrod.